Judith wins a prize

05 Sep

Sometimes you can take tenebrism too far. But then again, depending on the judges, you could win a prize.

Franz Xaver Karl Palko, “Judith with the Head of Holofernes,” 1745, oil on canvas, Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow, Russia

Franz Xaver Palko won the prize for this neo-Mannerist “Judith with the Head of Holofernes” as a student at the Academy in Vienna in 1745.   Nice beginning of a career that led to painting palaces and cathedrals and influencing painters in the territories of 18th century Austria.

But why so dark?  It looks like the action is set in a cellar rather than a tent.   I expect to see barrels of wine or ale in the background, as if they were hiding under a tavern.   And why are the figures contorted into unnatural positions?    I can forgive Holofernes since the decapitation probably created some contortion in horror and excruciating pain.    But why does Judith look like she is climbing into a chariot sideways?    And the maid – poor thing is bent and twisted and totally in the dark.

Oh yea, for a moment I forgot he was a Mannerist.

Of course, we do not know the other entries in this competition.   Maybe he won because the other paintings looked like this:

1 Comment

Posted by on September 5, 2011 in Distracted


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One response to “Judith wins a prize

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